BBQ25/17 – British “Old Cow” Rib Eye Steaks:
Old Cow: I have cooked a fair bit of the Galician Beef from Turner and George over the past couple of years and managed to eat an incredible amount of it during a demonstration at Meatopia last year. The Galician beef is from Spanish cows that roam the Galician hills until they are up to 15 years of age which results in a very strong, deep tasting beef quite unlike anything we usually get as UK beef tends to be slaughtered by 30 months. For a while this was due to BSE regulations but these have now been lifted, however most cows are still killed by 30 months due to the SRM control which was a BSE related measure requiring the removal of the spine at slaughter. Removal of the spine adds a significant cost to the slaughter without an increased price per KG associated to the older meat so there isn’t really a financial incentive to farmers to keep the older cows. Until now!
The increased popularity of the older Galician beef in the UK seems to have helped push a few more older, British cows out to market which will also have been helped by a recent segment on the Jimmy and Jamie show. It is still quite hard to get hold of though so when Farmison emailed me about a small release of British “Old Cow” that was available I jumped on it and bought 2 packs of Rib Eye steaks.
The “Old Cow” was described as:
Welcome to our British take on Spanish Galician beef. Mirroring the techniques of the Spanish, our Farmer has selected the best specimens from his herd and turned them out to pasture for retirement. These long roamers grow and mature in a relaxed environment more than twice as long as is usual for beef, living outside and feeding naturally on grass all year round. Our old cows graze from areas of outstanding natural beauty in Yorkshire Limestone country, foraging on the nutrient rich limestone pastures with its unique flora and fauna. Through this long, relaxed retirement the meat develops exquisite fine marbling and, because the cow is older, the meat has bold, rich flavour that stays longer on the palate, firm in the mouth as the unique depth of taste is released. Our older, home-grown British heritage breed cows bring an extra dimension to this Spanish approach.
With chefs like Jamie and Jimmy publicising the unique and sensational taste of meat from retired cows and because supply is limited, this breed is in very high demand. Sign up to our Newsletter to be kept abreast of the next release.
It is quite sad but I was genuinely excited waiting for the delivery and I planned to cook the steaks for dinner on the day they arrived!
I had cooked Chicken Wings a few days before using the Vortex for the first time. When I wrote up the blog post for that cook I had a thought about using the vortex to reverse sear the steaks so planned to give it a try.
I had some lumpwood charcoal delivered from Green Olive Firewood on the same day so used it for the first time in this cook. I fired up the chimney starter and once the charcoal was ready I poured it into the Vortex and placed a chunk of oak on top. I think I planned to turn the Vortex upside down, only spotted it’s the other way up on the photos! I sprinkled a liberal portion of Maldon sea salt onto the steaks (both sides) then placed them on the outside of the grill. I used the iGrill to track the internal temperature of the meat and set it to alert at Rare (49c).
I usually cook steaks to medium rare (55c) but because this meat was from older cows I thought it would be worth taking them to medium (60c). Once they hit 49c (about 10 minutes) I put them over the vortex for about 30 seconds each side which gave them a great sear. I will definitely use the vortex for reverse sear in future. Once the steaks were seared I wrapped them in foil and left them to rest for 10 minutes.
I have to say I absolutely loved these steaks, they tasted fantastic. It was a rich, deep tasting steak but was very tender to cut and eat. I eat all of it including the fat which was just like butter.
Hopefully Farmison will get more of this meat in stock soon, I want more of it and hopefully everyone gets the chance to eat some British “Old Cow” soon!